Who are the 100 most influential Brightonians?

Open data guru and all-round geek good guy, Greg Hadfield, has come up with the idea of compiling a list of the top 100 most influential people in Brighton. The idea is based on a similar list of the top 1,000 most influential people in London.

Immediately someone suggested that Greg himself should be on the list. “In my dreams; in my nightmares :-)” was his almost immediate response. Putting modesty aside, Greg is increasingly influential, not least for the drive he gives to the open data initiative and most things digital. He should be on the list.

But such a list needs some qualification. Is it a list of those who are currently the most influential? If that is the case (false modesty put aside) your humble blogger will not doubt be in the top 3. If it is the most influential in the last 25 years, then (being serious for once) Steve Bassam and David Lepper would be up there as they dominated local politics and helped shape the City we live in.

Dick Knight, former Chairman and now Life President of the Albion, was instrumental in saving the local football team and creating the reality that is the Amex Community Stadium. Mushtaq Ahmed, no longer a Brightonian, helped the local cricket team win the Championship and other honours.

So far all men. Here are a few great women. Selma Montford has been the conscience of the City’s architectural heritage. Mary Mears brought about a new style of leadership to the Council, and ranks amongst the most influential politicians in local politics. Caroline Lucas has changed the face of Brighton politics, and has provided inspiration nationwide to a new style of parliamentarian. Jean Calder helped slow the slide in the Argus with her original and challenging column. The Sage of Sussex (not a woman) Adam Trimingham, has for more than 100 years graced the pages of the Argus.

Please post your suggestions here or tweet the using the hashtag #btn100

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13 Responses

  1. Influential Brightonians, or influential in Brighton? For the first group, if we limit it to genuine Brightonians, i.e. born in the City or with a long standing connection, then sadly the only possible candidate for the currently most influential in worldwide terms is Simon Cowell – and by a very wide margin. Equally sadly Katie Price is probably second – although her worldwide reach is rather more limited.

    Thankfully neither can be said to be influencing the City in any particular way at present.

    If we mean influential in the City today I would nominate Martin Richards as being up there.

    • Simon Cowell and Katie Price would certainly be the most well known. But influential, well Mr Cowell may determine the destiny of a few music careers but I wouldn’t say he holds influence over the life of an average Brightonian. So yes, I agree neither can be said to be influencing the City in any particular way at present, excepting that every time Miss Price comes on the television I have to spend time finding the channel controls to switch over…
      I do think that someone like Roger French would be up there with those who provide services or have authority over our everyday life.

  2. Living or dead? Why not take a historical view:

    Martha Gunn and Maria Fitzherbert helped to create the risque flavour of Brighton that persists today. Zoe Ball and Fat Boy for the celebrity culture that exists here. Katie Price for what Brighton doesn’t want to be remembered for..Chief of Police Ridge for the corruption scandal. All the Theobalds and Fitches for their municipal servises?

  3. The whole question is misdirected. What I find most interesting is that, in walking about and talking with people, is that one hears stray fact and opinion in every quarter, all of which builds up to making the area so fascinatingly vocal. It’s a cheery scene – unless, as I found, Councillor Janio marches up and insults me. My advice to residents is to avoid the Tories as much as possible.

    • You have to feel sorry for Anthony. He changed his name to Janio (from Wilson) in honour of his mentor Jan Young, only for her to be deposed at the recent elections – no wonder he hates you! To add insult to injury he now belatedly discovers that the term “Janio” has established meaning in the Sussex vernacular…

      Anyway, the question was about the most influential Brightonians rather than the most insulting. Besides our splendid MP for Pavilion and the earnest Green cabinet running the city council, I support Greg Hadfield’s membership (he has a sincere passion for putting the city on the map), nominate Anthony Zacharzewski for his constructive work with DemSoc and CityCamp and if we’re including recent history would pay tribute to the late Tony Miller, who may have given us a PFI library but by all accounts did a lot to reinvigorate Brighton as a cultural centre. I would hope to see influence measured in terms of direct influence on the lives of people in the city rather than mere celebrity. Also if we’re recognising bus monopoly magnate Roger French please can we big-up Tom “Big Lemon” too.

    • I see since becoming elected, Mr Hawtree has become a true politician and has completely failed to answer the actual question.

      • I have answered the question, from a different angle. For example, I had a fascinatingly informative conversation with a resident yesterday about the nature of employment recruitment in a changing society. I like to get out and about, as I did during the Election.

      • I’m sorry Chris, what has that got to do with the 100 most influential Brightonians?

        I would add that the reason a resident contacted you & Brian Fitch yesterday was because she raised her concerns with us on the doorstep. It has nothing to do with your squabble with Cllr Janio.

  4. This may come as a complete shock, but I never actually set out to offend. I simply try to present the common sense views that I believe the silent majority would express, if they didn’t have far more important things to do. If this has occasionally offended the gaggle of Crypto-Marxists who have coalesced in Brighton and Hove, then it has been time well spent.

  5. Fight…………………………….

  6. Or……………………… Duel?

    Tories never learn, do they?

    Interestingly, today somebody contacted Brian Fitch and myself about a paving stone accident in Hangleton. No mention of the other incumbents. I replied to say that it is Brian’s patch, and I am sure he will deal with it capably. I added that anbody can have accidents, and that twice I have been too keen to go from letterbox to letterbox over a low wall, only to be sent reeling by a recalcitrant hanging basket. Are hanging baskets the Tories’ secret weapon? Not to mention a hanging and flogging basket.

    • Yes duel with large shoes and Red noses throwing Custard at each other, Honest Warren Morgan to referee.

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